As most autoimmune diseases, MS is the result of incorrectly balanced immune responses. Dendritic cells (DC), our professional antigen presenting cells, are essential to initiate immune responses required to fight infections and cancer. However, DCs may also dampen immune responses, in addition to regulatory T and B lymphocytes. Interferon was the first therapy approved for MS, but its application is restricted due to many side effects. We developed new interferon molecules that only have an effect on one specific cell type. We speculate that, by targeting these to DCs and other immune cells, we may induce their immune-dampening effect without toxic side effects. As such, we could create a generic and safe means to dampen the immune system in MS.
Cytokines are potent immune modulators, but also cause toxic side effects. We develop AcTakines, dampened cytokines targeted to specific cells, and investigate their potential to treat cancer and autoimmune diseases.